Town releases financial impact for Sting, Barn Dance

By Jesse Moya
Posted 10/10/19

After a summer of concerts and questions, the town of Taos has released economic impact reports for the Big Barn Dance and Sting concert. During the Tuesday (Oct. 8) …

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Town releases financial impact for Sting, Barn Dance


Correction appended

After a summer of concerts and questions, the town of Taos has released economic impact reports for the Big Barn Dance and Sting concert.

During the Tuesday (Oct. 8) regular council meeting, the town council was presented with the two economic reports, which indicated that both events had a significant impact on the Taos economy by bringing thousands of people who spent thousands of dollars both in the town and county during the concerts.

Sting was attended by over 7,000 people at the park and generated over $2 million in spending for the weekend.

"A lot of these people knew Taos," said Taos Marketing and Tourism Director Karina Armijo. "They had been to Taos and it was an excuse to come back and really enjoy the area."

According to the report, 84 percent of ticket buyers at the Sting concert were from New Mexico.

Councilors George "Fritz" Hahn and Pascualito Maestas both said their constituents are giving them feedback on the concerts and wanted to see the benefits of the events at Kit Carson Park. These economic impact studies were previously done for events and concerts like the Alabama Shakes, but have not been made public since 2016.

The reports were presented by town staff from data collected via surveys of ticket holders for the event. Both surveys had over a 50 percent response rate and had questions relating to what ticket holders did in Taos for the shows.

The Big Barn Dance also had a significant impact on Taos' economy by bringing in nearly 2,000 people to the park who spent nearly $2 million in the town.

Of the taxes generated from the events, the town of Taos will split the revenue with the state of New Mexico and Taos County. Taxes collected from sales related to the shows - including lodging, meals, outdoor recreation, transportation and tickets - were over $183,000 from the Sting concert and $122,000 from the Barn Dance, according to the reports. Only a portion of those tax revenues will go to the town coffers, an estimated $32,000 for Sting and $20,000 for the Barn Dance.

The average age of concertgoers for both shows was over 55 with the Barn Dance bringing in an average audience of 65 years old.

Respondents to the surveys stayed on average two nights for Sting and four nights for the Barn Dance. For the Barn Dance, a majority of those attending reported they live more than 50 miles away from Taos.

Some of the councilors wanted a more simplified report to be able to take back to their constituents in the future.

"I do appreciate this coming out in this stepped approach," said Hahn. "I am going to be looking for a comprehensive, just-the-numbers [report]."

The Sting report is over 100 pages and the Barn Dance report has 77. The majority of the page count comes from comments collected from the surveys which range from positive to negative about the shows, town and facilities.

The Sting concert was the first show booked, promoted and hosted by the town of Taos.

"I think that we had a great show with Sting," Armijo said during the meeting. "Really it was our first real show and our first real great show. It may not be like that every time."

Both reports are available online via the town of Taos economic development tab on the town's website: .

A report for the Meow Wolf Taos Vortex was planned, but Armijo said the project was scrapped due to a lack of cooperation with the parties involved.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated town staff compiled the reports.


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